(NOTE: This article first appeared on June 1. It is updated here with new information, including the list of participating brewers and taps.)
Last summer, the return of in-person Wisconsin IPA Fest at Third Space Brewing, 1505 W. St. Paul Ave., felt like a moment of normalcy during a crazy stretch.
Let's hope that same beautiful – if toasty – weather is back on tap Saturday, Aug. 20, from 2 until 5 p.m., as the sixth annual iteration of this hoppy statewide competition returns.
Any brewery in Wisconsin that makes IPAs can take part and the mood is collegial and fun and there's an incredible array of brews to be tasted at the event.
This year, 49 breweries will bring along more than 100 IPAs, as well as some other brews for malt-heads like me (though those won't be judged in the competition, of course).
Find a list of participating breweries and taps here.
The participating breweries bring judges along to evaluate the beers in blind judging. A people's choice winner is also picked, based on votes from fest-goers.
The winner gets a trophy made by Oconomowoc's Quality Tank Solutions that is a mini-fermentation tank.
The event costs $65 and includes a souvenir glass and unlimited samples. Act now and you can grab early bird tickets for $55.
VIP Tickets get you 1 p.m. access, a four-pack of this year's annual fest collab beer – made by Third Space and Raised Grain – and admission to the VIP lounge with extra seating, extra shade, and a private bar with special VIP-only IPAs on tap.
The VIP-Only beer menu includes:
• One Barrel Brewing – 10 Year Beer Hazy IPA
• G5 Brewing – Hard to Hide – HBC Cryo Pop IPA
• Central Waters/Supermoon Collab – Wait Until Yesterday Red Rye IPA
• Hacienda Beer Co. – Dual Sensations Barrel Fermented NEIPA
• Vintage Brewing – Go Man Go – Mango IPA
The 2022 VIP IPA is a collaboration between VIP sponsor Hopsteiner and Raised Grain. It is a dip-hopped IPA featuring some Hopsteiner's Sultana and Eureka Salvo, Lotus Lupulin, Sultana Lupulin, Eureka Lupulin and Altus hops.
“We created the Wisconsin IPA Fest to showcase the awesome hoppy beers brewers are making in Wisconsin,” says Third Space Co-Founder and President Andy Gehl.
“It has been fun to watch how much the style has evolved over the six years we have hosted this event which provides Wisconsin beer lovers the chance to see what’s new and innovative in the world of hoppy beers in the state."
Lakefront Brewery won in 2017, Third Space in 2018 and Sheboygan Beer Co. in 2019. No winner was crowned in 2020 when the fest was online-only.
“The competition is more about gathering the brewers and beer lovers of our state to have a little fun together over great beer than it is about winning,” says Third Space Co-Founder and Brewmaster, Kevin Wright.
There will also be food trucks on hand – Triciclo Peru, Twisted Plants, Tots on the Street and Oxtail MKE – music from a Sound by Design DJ and a make-your-own-T-shirt station from Craft Industry Apparel.
Tickets go on sale Friday June 3 at 10 a.m. but there is a special pre-sale starting Thursday, June 2 for My Third Space Club Members. Complete details and ticket link are here.
Steny’s Tavern, 800 S. 2nd St., in Walker’s Point, will run a free shuttle to and from IPA Fest with free parking available in its lot. The tavern will also host an official after-party that will include five Third Space beers on tap.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.